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L'Occitane en Provence: good vibes from Clarisse Crémer

by L'Occitane Sailing Team 26 Sep 18:17 BST
L'Occitane Sailing Team © PKC Media / L'Occitane Sailing Team

The young French skipper got to grips a little bit more with her IMOCA L'Occitane en Provence alongside her co-skipper Alan Roberts at the end of their second race together, the Défi Azimut.

After covering more than 600 miles off Brittany, the duo finished in 10th place, confirming their progress with almost a month to go before the season's big event, the Transat Jacques Vabre.

This season's IMOCA races have certainly been hectic. In July, when the IMOCA L'Occitane en Provence was launched with Clarisse Crémer and Alan Roberts at the helm, the weather was particularly chaotic in the English Channel, between Cowes (England) and Cherbourg during the Rolex Fastnet Race. After the summer break, conditions during the Défi Azimut - the traditional back-to-school race organised from Lorient last week - was just as tricky. Indeed, the organisers were forced to shake up the schedule of the event, bringing forward the start and modifying the course.

Less than 3 hours from the top 5

The main race (the Azimut 48H) took place from Thursday morning, with a long loop of almost 600 miles (965 km) off the coast of Brittany. The 33 competitors were treated to everything from squalls gusting to over 35 knots, to windless zones, and were forced into all points of sail, reaching and downwind. In short, a variety of conditions that are not ideal when you're trying to get to grips with a new boat and new team. This was exactly the mission of Clarisse Crémer and her co-skipper, Alan Roberts.

The duo's complementarity team work on board, seen during the Rolex Fastnet Race (6th), was evident from the start of the Azimut 48 Hours, as they were close to the top 5 for a long time before battling it out right to the end. They crossed the finish line in 10th place but showed that they were on the pace of the best within the fleet, with less than 3 hours to go to 5th place.

With a project that got off to a late start launching in only April this year, a team put together quickly and the first sails in June, to finish in such a position, surrounded by skippers with much more preparation time, L'Occitane en Provence's result is an achievement in itself.

To round off this fine weekend, the Crémer-Roberts duo took 6th place in the speed runs, a competition organised on Sunday to separate the boats over a short distance. Having built up their confidence during these confrontations, Clarisse and Alan can now look forward to the Transat Jacques Vabre, a transatlantic race between Le Havre and Fort-de-France (in Martinique) which gets under way on 29 October. It's another opportunity to enjoy themselves, to give it their all and to offer some great emotions to all those who follow their wonderful adventure.

A word from Clarisse Crémer:

"We learnt a lot from this Azimut Challenge. There are a few frustrations: we identified the moments when we could have done better in terms of trajectories. We've managed to find the positives each time and find the solutions. I get on very well with Alan and did the same here again. We've seen what we need to work on before the Transat Jacques Vabre. During the race, we also admired the incredible light, which resembled that of the trade winds, as well as numerous dolphins and a flying fish on board! It was beautiful and very varied: it felt like we'd been on board for much more than 48 hours! The runs on Sunday were stressful but exciting, given the number of people on the water. Right now, we've still got a lot of work to do and it's all coming together before the Transat Jacques Vabre: sailing, training, delivery... We can't wait for the rest!"

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